Top Qualifying Performance in Brainerd moves Ashley to No. 2 in SKOAL Showdown BRAINERD, Minn. (August 11, 2007) - Every time Mike Ashley drove his Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger R/T down the quarter-mile in qualifying at the Lucas Oil NHRA ...
Top Qualifying Performance in Brainerd moves Ashley to No. 2 in SKOAL Showdown
BRAINERD, Minn. (August 11, 2007) - Every time Mike Ashley drove his Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger R/T down the quarter-mile in qualifying at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, he came out at the top of the list, delivering the quickest and fastest runs of each of the four sessions to earn the "No. 1 Qualifier" moniker.
Friday, Ashley was the only car to break into the four-second range in the first qualifying session with a 4.887/308.71 pass, and took the top spot overnight with his 4.833/324.98 run in the cooler night session. Today, he again went to the head of the pack with an impressive 4.781/327.51 run amidst intermittent rain sprinkles, and a delivered a 4.812/323.74 to end the day.
It is the sixth time this year he has earned a top qualifying spot in competition, his most recent in NHRA competition was two weeks ago at the FRAM-Autolite Nationals in Sonoma, Calif. Last weekend in IHRA competition at the Torco Race Fuels Northern Nationals in Martin Mich., Ashley was top qualifier and went on to win the event.
"It sounds like I'm repeating myself because all I can do is say how awesome [crew chief] Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald have this car tuned," Ashley said. "It's like they had it on a string this weekend, with every pass getting quicker and quicker. It's all about consistency in this sport, and right now, we've got it."
In fact, Ashley's consistent performances throughout the year have moved him into the No. 2 spot for the SKOAL showdown, a race-within-a-race contested at the US Nationals in Indianapolis. Funny Car drivers earn points based on their qualifying positions, and the top eight compete for a bonus $100,000 payday at the event. Ashley entered the competition this weekend in fifth place, and jumped ahead of three racers to claim the second spot because of his stellar No. 1 effort.
"I think it's pretty impressive to be the quickest and fastest of every round of qualifying. As we come into the last races before the Countdown, we wanted to take a break from the testing we had been doing and work on our race-day setups. Like I said, consistency is key, and we're doing what works.
"Everyone knows that anything can happen on race day, and we're not getting ahead of ourselves, by any stretch. Tomorrow, we'll take things one lap at a time, and get it down the track," he said.
Ashley faces former world champion Gary Scelzi in the first round of eliminations, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (EDT) tomorrow.